Cold Turkey – A Quitter’s Tale

I smoked my first cigarette in junior high. One of my buddies at school gave them to me. Three of them in a plastic cassette tape case. Menthol for reasons I do not recall. Kids at school smoked in the bathroom during the breaks between classes and I was very curious to find out why anybody would spend their break in a toilet stall.

My first attempts didn’t give me any insight. Turns out I didn’t inhale. I figured out the trick on the third try. That first drag gave me a buzz that knocked me off my feet. I guess that day I became a smoker. While I only smoked occasionally thru school, and this casual habit only tapered off to hardly ever after college, it was still lurking.

I moved to Los Angeles, California in July 2001. It was around this time that my infrequent habit, like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet, suddenly became more like a busted water pipe (no pun intended). I’d like to blame the hours sitting in Los Angeles traffic, the endless abyss, consumed, with nothing to do but smoke, but it only contributed. This stupid behavior continued for the next few years. Then one morning I awoke, sat up in bed, and simply decided that yesterday was the last day I’d ever smoke. Just like that.

I look back on that and think the key to my going cold turkey was not making today the last day but yesterday the last day. Fast forward five years and I haven’t had a cigarette since the day before that day; no tabacco of any kind. No pills. No patches. Not even a lousy cigar.

I wrote the first draft of this at the end of last year. I was reflecting on the new year approaching and the fact that 2009 had seen both friends and family  die from years of smoking. I promise not to be any more heavy handed that that. However, with a new year come new resolutions. Some are to quit smoking. I hope that my quitter’s tale inspires you. Remember, any yesterday can be your last.

One thought on “Cold Turkey – A Quitter’s Tale

  1. Jeannie says:

    In 1967 my mother had her first heart attack. She started smoking to help her loose weight. I now know that smoking and the Atkins diet is probably the reason for the attack. In 1973, one year before you were born, my dad was diagnosis with lung cancer. He started smoking as a young child. Growing up in a tiny rural town it smoking and skinny dipping in the creek was the thing to do. This story ends with the death of my parents. Daddy first 3 months before you were born and mother when you were just days for 4 years old. I am glad that you quit smoking Owen. They died young at 65 years of age.

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